At Home At The Zoo

Posted June 11, 2012 in
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Since 2010, The Hive Theatre Company has been producing amazing local theatre for the Salt Lake community, and their most current production, Edward Albee’s At Home At The Zoo, is no different. The play stars local actor Spencer Belnap in the role of Peter, and The Hive’s founders, Jared and Tiffany Greathouse, in the roles of Jerry and Ann, and is performed at the Sugar Space—a multi-use, community location that provides “space” for a variety of local artistic purposes.

The first act of At Home At The Zoo focuses on the interaction between Peter, a textbook publisher, and his wife, Ann. They seem happy on the outside, but their dialogue reveals many troubling aspects to their relationship, and the act ends with Peter deciding to go to Central Park to finish reading a book. The second act focuses on the interaction between Peter and Jerry, a disconsolate and unsatisfied man who comes across Peter on his way home from the zoo. Jerry is, to some extent, unstable, deranged from his withdrawal from society and prolonged loneliness. The play deals with several social issues and examines the motives of humanity on multiple levels. During the first act, Tiffany and Belnap do a remarkable job of expressing the wonder, the humor and the terror that can exist in even the most healthy and sustainable of relationships, and, during the second, Belnap shares surprisingly comparable interactions with Jared. One thing is for certain: Edward Albee writes incredibly compelling dialogue, and these actors perform that dialogue wonderfully.

Around the play itself, there is some controversy. Albee originally wrote the second act (at first titled Peter and Jerry, but which came to be known as The Zoo Story) as a one-act play in the late 1950s. The first act, which Albee titled Homelife, wasn’t added until nearly 50 years later, and some members of the theater community felt as though Albee was doing a disservice to a piece many consider to be a work of genius. While controversy remains, it’s easy to see how the first act adds many levels to the character of Peter, and makes the presumable repercussions of the ending to the second half appear to have much more power and influence (it also provides an excellent argument about the need for fucking).

If you’re at all a fan of the theatre, especially local theatre, this is absolutely a show to not miss out on. As they say in their playbill, “Without the support of patrons and local contributors, The Hive would be an impossibility,” so going to a show is a great way to ensure the survival of an exceptional local company. On top of supporting something local, you’ll get to experience the brilliant performances that Jared, Tiffany and Belnap put forward, and the source material is sure to provide you with ample conversation material.

The Hive Theatre Company’s rendition of Edward Albee’s At Home At The Zoo runs June 8, 9, 15 and 16 at The Sugar Space, with doors at 7:30 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. For more information, or to learn more about the Hive Theatre Company, go to, or follow them on Facebook at Also, don’t miss The Hive’s production of Who Are You?, an original piece by Jared Greathouse, coming this October.